23rd February 2021
By Munizae Jahangir
President Dr Arif Alvi has urged women in the country to take advantage of various loan schemes initiated by the federal government for their economic empowerment, regretting that only five percent of the funds available to female entrepreneurs have been availed due to lack of awareness.
Speaking to Voicepk.net in an exclusive interview at the Presidency recently, Dr Arif Alvi called upon media outlets to raise awareness about concessional loan facilities for women in the country. “According to figures from State Bank and commercial banks only 5% of the millions of rupees in funds earmarked for women entrepreneurs had been availed,” President Alvi revealed. Despite the fact that the loan plans for women entrepreneurs to the limit of Rs 5 million carried two percent less markup than the market rate, he added.
In a webinar on financial inclusion of women, Seema Kamil, Deputy Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), said that only 18% of the account holders in the country are women, whereas 51% are men, adding that the gender gap between account holders has increased to 24% from 12% in the last three years.
Similarly, Kamil said women were not availing loan schemes due to lack of awareness and financial exclusion. She pointed that 25% of the funds under the Prime Minister Kamyab Jawan Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme had been allocated to women but only 13% had been availed.
Women can obtain business loans of up to Rs5 million at 5% interest under the Refinance and Credit Guarantee Scheme for Women Entrepreneurs.
Under this scheme, SBP provides funds to banks at 0% which banks can lend to women entrepreneurs at maximum markup rate of 5% with maximum loan size of Rs 5 million for a period up to 5 years. A risk coverage of 60% is also available for the banks. The SBP encourages women entrepreneurs to approach banks to avail the facility launched with a view to promote women entrepreneurship for inclusive economic development.